We kept our 3 year-old grandson this weekend while his parents and older brother went out of town for a wedding on Saturday. Big Brother is the ring-bearer, so he has to be at the rehearsal Friday evening, as well as the ceremony. Mom and Dad figured they would be better able to fully focus on Big Brother’s performance in the wedding if Little Brother had something else to keep him busy. That something was a weekend at Cap and Mimi’s. The family raced through town on Friday afternoon to drop off Little Brother and the dog. We would keep both of them until Sunday. Of course, with it being the weekend before Mardi Gras, the visit coincided with our town’s annual Mardi Gras parade and festival. There would be plenty for us to do to keep our grandson occupied. The weather was warm and sunny, so we hopped in the golf cart on Friday afternoon and headed for the playground at the waterfront park. By the time the no-see-ums came out, our little super-hero was ready to head home. Fortunately, Suzy had stockpiled a lot of kiddie shows on the DVR, and between those and the toy chest, we made it to dinner and bedtime. It was a peaceful night for everyone but me. Being a poor sleeper to start with, and having a child and dog in the house, it didn’t take much to wake me up at every unfamiliar noise.
It wasn’t until I woke up worn out on Saturday morning that I realized there were similarities between keeping a 3 year-old for a couple of days and making an offshore overnight passage. Both require planning and good weather. Both are demanding of the crew. Both deal with unexpected small crises that require immediate attention, disruptions in sleep and meal routines, and both risk the possibility of a sudden squall. Both require patience, perseverance, focus and determination. Both leave you exhausted when the task is done, and require a couple of days for the crew to recover, and there is frequently a lot of clean-up and repair involved.
The Mardi Gras parade was the high point of the weekend. With fire trucks, bands, and two “pirate” clubs firing cannons, it sometimes got a bit too loud for our boy. We were in a good spot, though, and he managed to pick up a lot of beads. Then it was back home for lunch and a nap, before heading back out to the playground at the elementary school. Moving past the “24 Hours Away From Mom and Dad” milestone, we started seeing a bit of strain, but Suzy — calling on her career experience as a pre-school and kindergarten teacher — was able to forestall any major meltdowns before bedtime. Mom, Dad and Big Brother came by early Sunday morning, just as we were approaching the “Too Long Away From Mom and Dad” milestone, so we dodged a bullet and completed our task successfully. I have to give the boy credit, though. He handled himself well, behaved, obeyed, and was basically as good as you could expect from a 3 year-old. Just like an overnight passage, I’m sure the experience will get much better with age and practice.
As for Cap and Mimi, we’re now in clean-up, repair and recover mode. I’m sure we won’t be doing much else today. In a day or two, we’ll be fine.
One note about the parade. For some reason, the City chose a “Wild West” theme for this year’s Mardi Gras festival. Personally, I don’t get the connection. Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of some yacht club members in the parade, including our new Commodore as Mae West — a wild West if there ever was one. The club is fairly small, but enthusiastic, this year winning the Spirit Award. Last year, the club won for Best Display.